15 Feb Assembly Dates and New Task Forces
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Upper Midwest Diocese,
Right before Christmas, I shared with you the news that on December 19, 2022, our Diocesan Assembly ratified our revised constitution by a two-thirds majority vote. Moreover, the Assembly was a critical time for us as a Diocese. Delegates shared their perspectives from the floor, and expressed differing opinions with respect.
Our Bishop’s Council continues to work on strengthening the work of our Diocese. We met and passed three important motions last Monday, February 6.
Revive Conference & Diocesan Assembly 2023
First, we approved a motion to hold the next Diocesan Assembly in late October. I am pleased to announce that we will hold Diocesan Assembly preceding our annual Revive Conference. This Assembly will include the required second vote on the revised Constitution and a vote on the revised Canons. If those are ratified and approved, respectively, we would then hold a Synod (a more traditional name for “diocesan assembly”). At the Synod we would vote for new members of our leadership councils, among other items.
Many more details are to come, but please save these dates:
- Diocesan Assembly: Wednesday, October 25
- First Synod meeting: Thursday, October 26
- Revive Conference: Friday and Saturday, October 27 & 28
Canons Task Force
Second, the Bishop’s Council approved the creation of a Canons Task Force. I have asked our Chancellor, Charlie Philbrick, to lead this Task Force, and I will serve on it alongside members from each Deanery. It will continue to work closely with the American Anglican Council to develop our proposed Canon revisions. The Task Force will prepare drafts for the Bishop’s Council to review.
We will also seek feedback from laity and clergy from across the Diocese. This is a key reason for scheduling our Diocesan Assembly in October rather than earlier. While working on the revised Constitution, we realized that the Canons, which are far more detailed, require ample time for review.
Clergy Discipline Task Force
Third, the Council approved the creation of a Clergy Discipline Task Force, which I have asked Bishop Martyn Minns to lead. As you may recall, the Province assigned Bishop Minns to walk alongside our Diocese during this time of reconnecting and rebuilding. I will serve alongside him on the Task Force.
The Task Force’s charge is to process and bring to conclusion any concerns or other matters involving diocesan deacons or priests that arose during my leave of absence. It will review relevant materials and seek expert counsel in determining next steps for those situations—whether that’s reconciliation, formal discipline, or ongoing supervision. Please keep this important process in prayer. If you have any questions, Bishop Minns would be glad to hear from you. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Late last year the Bishop’s Council voted to formalize Fr. John Mackett of Wisconsin/Iowa Deanery and Fr. Michael Flowers of the Chicagoland/Kansas City Deanery as Deans, rather than Acting Deans. In addition, Fr. Christian Ruch returned from his voluntary leave as the Dean of Minnesota/South Dakota.
My two main goals in this season remain reconnecting and rebuilding within the Diocese. It has been a joy to visit each deanery over the last few months. I plan to visit every parish by Labor Day weekend. I am so grateful for the rebuilding process as we establish these Task Forces and work toward our Revive Conference and Diocesan Assembly in October.
Please continue to pray as we seek the Lord’s leading for our churches and Diocese.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Stewart Ruch III